Posts Tagged ‘Robbie Keane’

Transfer Window Hits and Misses


The January transfer window just passed saw the lowest spending since 2003, a whole £140m less than last January’s whopping £170m. Clubs have been certainly feeling the pinch and seem to be much more careful with their money. While it’s far too early to judge here are some thoughts on who could be hits and who might be misses.


The Free Transfers

I think Sol Campbell to Arsenal is quite astute and judging by the game and a half he’s played thus far, he looks like he can still cut it in the top flight. Certainly a better option than Mikael Silvestre! Over in Manchester, I was less convinced by City’s signing of Patrick Vieira. I think it will be difficult for him and there will be games where the pace is too much for him. That said, he’ll bring a lot to that dressing room and should be good for cameos where games are being closed out.

sol campbell arsenal

Beats playing for Nott's County.


The Loans

With money a bit thin on the ground, some of the most interesting deals were loans. Landon Donovan looks to have fitted straight in at Everton and I think he’ll do well for the remaining time he’s over here. Senderos from Arsenal is also a good move – the Swiss has stagnated a touch but people think he’s rubbish just because Drogba messed him a few times. Name me a central defender that hasn’t struggled against the Drog.

Bolton have got a couple of good youngsters in Weiss and Wilshere from Man City and Arsenal respectively. Wilshere in particular could be an instant hit if his cameo Carling Cup appearances are anything to go by. Basturk is one of those players who was once good on Football Manager but I’ve never seen him play enough to comment in real life. Fat Sam had a decent track record with signing older creative types at Bolton and the Turk could be sneaky good for Blackburn.

Maxi Rodriguez will be rubbish for Liverpool and Amr Zaki will be rubbish for Hull. Fellow Egyptian Mido might surprise a few people at West Ham. With a £1K a week wage he’s motivated to prove people wrong if nothing else.

wilshere bolton arsenal weiss

I can't decide whether he's disgusted to be holding that shirt or if he's just very cold.


The Cold Hard Cash

The biggest signing was Man City getting Adam Johnson for £6m+. An interesting one this, he’s done well in the Championship this season but I don’t see where he’s going to fit at Eastlands right now. You have Bellamy and Petrov both playing on the left and they’re both playing very well. One for the future me thinks, but he’ll have a great mentor in Petrov who is an excellent left winger.

After much of the window saw both Porstmouth keepers being linked with moves away to the same clubs, it was eventually Asmir Begovic who left, joining Stoke for £3.25m. He was wanted by Spurs too but apparently legged it from the hotel they were putting him up in. I do wonder whether he will displace Sorensen, they seem kind of at the same level to me. It’s a good signing for next season though.

Elsewhere Victor Moses should get lots of opportunity to prove he’s worth £2.5m at Wigan given that Jason Scotland has yet to score this season, while Benni McCarthy should score enough to justify his £1m move to West Ham. Sunderland have got a good prospect in Matt Kilgallon for £2m.

Birmingham had lots to spend but only got some squad depth in the end with Michel and Craig Gardner joining for £3m each. They’ll be useful, nothing more nothing less.

adam johnson

As good as Stewart Downing. Maybe.


Harry Redknapp’s Wheeling Dealing Transfer Merry-Go-Round

Let’s face it, Spurs deserve a whole category of their own. Any team with Harry Redknapp in charge is always likely to make deals but when you cross it with Spurs’ odd transfer policy you’re bound to get some baffling deals. First up, they bought Younes Kaboul back from Portsmouth for about £5m (less if you count what Pompey still owed).

This is by my count the fifth player they’ve bought back in about 18 months (Keane, Defoe, Crouch & Chimbonda the others) and they’d probably save themselves a lot of money if they didn’t destroy careers in the first place. Kaboul has improved but won’t play when everyone is fit, so as usual lots of foresight there. Two right backs (Naughton and Hutton) went out on loan leaving them with only Corluka.

eidur gudjohnsen spurs

Come on Harry, let's not play games. You know you want me.

Gudjohnsen was brought in on loan. I’m not sure about this one, it kind of depends where he plays. He certainly hasn’t been a striker for a few seasons now but is a decent player. I get the feeling Redknapp is addicted to buying players he once liked the look of. Lets be honest now, they don’t really need Gudjohnsen do they, but Redknapp just couldn’t say no to a bit of sexy loan action.

The one striker leaving was surprisingly not Pavlyuchenko but instead Robbie Keane who left on loan to Celtic. You don’t normally loan your captain out do you, but by the sounds of it they were constantly changing the price of Pavlyuchenko. No doubt the same happened with Bentley which is why he’s still there too.

harry redknapp

Buy me Harry, no buy me!


So overall nothing that exciting happened, and as usual the bullshit rumour brigade was full of exactly that – bullshit. There are a few decent signings but you sense everyone is saving their dollar for some post World Cup bingeing. Because of course that’s when the best value can be found…



Weekly Photoshop – Thierry Henry


Haven’t you heard? Tuesday is the new Thursday in terms of weekly Photoshopping. I didn’t realise last week but from now we’ll be doing this on Tuesdays. This week the theme was Stephen Ireland. Then Thierry Henry decided to handball his way to becoming the worst human being in the history of mankind and thus the theme was changed by The Guardian.


I personally think it’s all a big much ado about nothing. Yes he cheated, but it hardly tarnishes a whole 16 year career. There’s been a distinct lack of perspective, and too many people in the media forgot that it was hardly a given that Ireland were going to World Cup. It was 1-1 on aggregate at the time after all. 


Also, as has been pointed out in many places, weren’t Ireland the beneficiaries of their own ridiculous handball decision in World Cup qualifying? Swings and roundabouts. Anyway, my internetless woes at home continue somewhat so it’s another simple entry this week.


Thierry Henry handball France Ireland

What's all the fuss? Does no-one else remember Thierry winning the Golden Glove awards while at Arsenal?

The rest of this week’s gallery can be found here (some very funny stuff, especially the winner).







The Six Pointer – Spurs spanked, Benitez beaten again & more…


That was the weekend that was…


1. Robbie Keane will feel like the biggest mug after his supposedly superior Spurs squad got turned over with ease by the Gunners. Old twitchy eyes may have seen the result coming, as he went in to the game without arguably his best two players in Luka Modric and Jermaine Defoe. Nevertheless, Arsenal have their own injury concerns but showed the gulf in class. Early on it seemed that Spurs were getting all the luck, as David Bentley unbelievably managed to avoid even a booking for a rash and dangerous challenge on Vermaelen. They even managed to hold their own in midfield against Arsenal’s fluid 4-3-3. However, Arsenal were knocking on the proverbial door and only a super save from Gomes, aka rubber arms, kept it 0-0. Song made an awesome challenge at the other end to deny the bullshitter himself, Robbie Keane.

Wenger happy, Wenger dance

The game was effectively over the space of two minutes (42nd and 43rd) as Van Persie profited from some lazy defending to volley Arsenal into the lead. Then straight from kick off Spurs inexplicably gave away the ball and Cesc Fabregas went on a great run which ended in a sublime finish past Gomes. A comical third was put away by van Persie, as Arsenal profited from confusion over a foul on Diaby and a blunder by Gomes.

Such was Arsenal’s dominance that Eduardo even managed to waste two chances you would normally put money on him taking. It was a good overall team performance from Wenger’s men, with the two centre halves looking comfortable, penetration from the full backs and clinical finishing. the only disappointment was Arshavin’s limp display.


2. Liverpool failed to follow-up their redemptive display against United. Fulham outplayed them and exposed Liverpool’s growing defensive weakness. everyone is focused, perhaps rightly so, on the injuries suffered by Gerrard and Torres. However, it is their fragility at the back which should be their main concern. Carragher was finally punished with the red he should have got against United and all-in-all, Benitez has simply failed to maintain an organised defence. Where he has allowed the likes of Johnson, Insua and Degen to provide an attacking threat, the lack of shape has been exposed. Bobby ‘I love to miss sitters’ Zamora even managed to profit, which has made me think. What is worse, conceding a goal to a beach ball or to Bobby Zamora? I think it has to be the latter.


3. Top class Chelsea destroyed Bolton. OK, the Blues’ Carling Cup team had already disposed them in mid-week and it was 0-0 on Saturday until JLloyd Samuel deservedly got sent off. But Chelsea showed some classy football, with Drogba, Anelka, Lampard and Deco clicking in a way that reminded me of Arsenal when they had the Vieira, Pires, Henry and Bergkamp combo.  The pick of the bunch was the fourth, well taken goal  by Drogba. Phenomenal build up. Deco’s was quite special as well. If Ancelotti can sort out the Blues’ defensive frailties away from home, they should power their way to the title.


4. Have Pompey finally turned round their season? Well, a convincing 4-0 victory against an in-form Wigan side was a good place to start. It is obvious that Pompey will ship a lot of goals but the ability to score them, especially at home, will ultimately keep you up. In Aruna Dindane and Piquionne, Paul Hart has genuine pace and quality in front of goal. Question remains whether they are consistent enough.

Aruna power

My name is Aruna, I am here to save Pompey with my golden boot.


5. Man City drew for the third game in succession at Birmingham. Both sides had decent chances but it was Shay Given’s penalty save from James McFadden that ensured City got a point. Whilst it is impressive that Mark Hughes has only suffered that sole defeat at Old Trafford, it is the draws that can cost you (ask Wenger about his team two seasons ago). Lucky that he has a banker at home against Burnley next Saturday.


6. Little Gorgon-Zola mustn’t have been able to believe his luck, as his lads raced into an impressive 2-0 lead at the Stadium of Light through Franco and Carlton Cole. Although fatty Reid pulled one back with a top-notch free kick, it still looked good for the Hammers as Kenwyne Jones was sent off for pushing over Herita Illunga. In a complete reversal of their heroics against Arsenal, West Ham surrendered two points when Darren Bent set up Kieran Richardson for the equaliser. All in all a point at Sunderland is a good result considering the form of Bruce’s team. However, Zola’s nice guy managerial style simply doesn’t seem to achieve the right results.

You may be wondering why Manchester United weren’t covered in this week’s Six Pointer. Well it was such a routine Old Trafford win that it wasn’t worth mentioning other than Berbatov had one of his best games yet for United.

Until next week!



The Six Pointer – Carragher As Striker, Tottenham’s New Stadium & more…


That was the weekend that was.


1. I had a hunch that this was the case when I was watching the Boro – Arsenal game on Saturday and it has turned out to be true. In eight seasons at Arsenal, Jeremie Aliadiere scored one league goal. In a season and a half at Middlesbrough he has now scored twice against his former employers.

This was not necessarily a goal celebration...

This was not necessarily a goal celebration...


2. Will either Mark Hughes or Paul Ince be given the chance to reinforce in January? 3-1 says Hughes won’t while 100-30 on says Ince will be going to the job centre next. 


3. Three weeks ago all of the Big Four failed to win for the first time in over a year. This weekend they did it again. Could Aston Villa mount a title challenge because of this? If Arsenal beat Liverpool next Sunday they are ‘only’ five points behind them. Yet if Villa also win their game against West Ham, they would only be four points behind and sitting pretty in third place.

There are plenty of questions to ask of the title challengers.

Will Liverpool continue to struggle without Torres? Will Chelsea find a plan B considering that the opposition have now worked out that to stop Chelsea, you stop Bosingwa and Cole? Will Man United be affected by the long haul trip to Tokyo and the lack of Queiroz’s defensive/tactical nous? Will Arsenal continue beyond January without reinforcements that are better than Song Diaby and Denilson? And what of Aston Villa? Do they have the squad to challenge? First choice XI’s are great until they get injured, and you have no one to turn to. Just ask Arsene Wenger.

Song, Diaby, Denilson

Slow, Slower, Slowest.


4. Picture the scene. You’re drawing at home against a Hull side you should really beat if you have title aspirations. There are five minutes left to get a goal and you are have decided to take off Javier Mascherano. Do you:

a) Bring on striker Robbie Keane, a man who cost you £20million in the summer, and who with Fernando Torres out injured is your most senior striker.


b) Bring on defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva, a man with no league goals for Liverpool.

If your answer was ‘b)’ then you are Rafa Benitez. Congratulations.
Image of him scoring not available

Image of him scoring not available.


5. Maybe Rafa should start playing Jamie Carragher upfront instead


6. It seems Tottenham’s obsession with Arsenal holds no bounds. Don’t these images of their proposed new stadium look suspiciously like the Emirates? Same size, same idea of a corporate name, same design. They’ll definitely have space to build it next to White Hart Lane, goodness knows there’s nothing else round there.
Ashburton Grove

Ashburton Grove

Mark II

Mark II



The Six Pointer – Ebooooooue, Scoring Then Conceding & more…


This was the weekend that was…


1. There’s a more in depth take on the Emmanuel Eboue booing on Saturday in the previous post but needless to say it was uncalled for, however bad a game he was having. Home fans should support their team no matter what. Booing a team off at half time because they are playing crap and need to wake up is different to ironically cheering when Eboue’s number come up and then booing him as he trudges off the field. It achieves nothing, ruins his confidence and puts the rest of the team on edge. Yes he’s frustrating and possibly one of the worst players in the Arsenal squad (the others being Song and arguably Bendtner) but Abou Diaby is just as lazy and gets nowhere near the same abuse. The atmosphere this year has been quiet and nervous enough without the need to start booing our own players. On a side note I love how the Arsenal website completely ignores the main story of the weekend in their match report.

Arsenal propaganda

Arsenal propaganda


2. The old adage that you are most likely to concede just after you score didn’t ring truer than at Goodison Park yesterday. Just after Lescott grabbed his second, Ashley Young scores a wonderful winner with virtually the last kick of the game. A vital three points for Villa keeps them in the hunt for 4th spot. Everton huffed and puffed with Anichebe up front but clearly miss the Yak.  


3. With the Toffees (desperately) needing a striker and Micheal Owen fit and back amongst the goals tapins, what price a cheeky bid in January? Newcastle have even less money to spend than Everton so may sell rather than let his contract expire in the summer. His rumoured wages of £110k a week might prove a problem but he is a boyhood Everton fan so may take a pay cut. In my Portsmouth game on Football Manager 2009 he actually ended up going to Man Utd in the summer but somehow I don’t think that’s very likely in real life. 

6 yard punisher

6 yard punisher


4. Man City’s league results this season have been the height of inconsistency: LWWLWLLDWLLLDWLD. Bring on the January sales…


5. Will Robbie Keane be classed as the flop of the season? His form has been so poor he was dropped against struggling Blackburn when you’d think who better to play against when suffering a drought. His only league goals have come against bottom club West Brom at home and he’s now suffering the ignominy of being linked with a move back to Spurs. He’s cost five million a goal thus far (I’m being generous and counting Europe) and has done little to help Liverpool’s climb to the top of their table. Their most important summer business currently looks like it was not selling Alonso to Arsenal.


6. A word finally for Darren Anderton, the greatest sicknote of them all. He finally retired on Saturday after a 500 odd game career blighted by injuries but with an uncanny ability to always be fit for major tournaments. He only won 30 caps for England yet played in Word Cup ’98 as well as Euro 1996 & 2000. As far as final games go, to come off the bench and score the winner is a nice way to end.  He now passes on the mantle of permanently injured player to Tomas Rosicky. It was going to go to Louis Saha but he couldn’t make the ceremony due to a calf strain.

Shocked he was on the pitch...

Shocked he was on the pitch...



The Six Pointer – Is Roy Keane Any Good, RVP’s Right & more…


All eyes were on Sunday after one of the least appealing set of Saturday games this season. Only Sunderland v Bolton served up anything interesting and that was in part to all the comedy defending. As Mark Lawrenson would say (he would and you know it), Christmas is the season of giving. 


1. Is Roy Keane any good? We’ve touched before on how Sunderland’s strikeforce of Kenwyn Jones and Djibril Cisse has more than enough quality to keep them up. However, judging by the state of their defence (Saturday’s comedy here), it may not be enough. They’re down to 19th with just one win in seven. Keane has spent more than £60 million since taking over in the summer of 2006. There are some decent players there (Malbranque, Ferdinand, the two main strikers, a few others) but also a lot of tosh. His reliance on Man Utd rejects and Irish players who aren’t Robbie Keane has led to the biggest squad in the Premiership but arguably very little genuine quality. Squads are important but your first choice eleven take priority given that they’ll play the majority of games when fit. I think part of the problem has been the lack of a first choice defence – he has used six different back fours thus far. Looking at their squad I guess you would choose Chimbonda – Ferdinand – Nosworthy – McCartney. Hmm. As always, he’s being very frank in his assessment of his team and his own future but I reckon that as long as he keeps Sunderland up he’ll get a new contract. Great beard by the way but has he been taking styling tips from Abel Xavier?

Maybe I'll copy the hair too...

Maybe I'll copy the haircut too...


2. Is Gary Megson any good? Quietly, Bolton have won four out of their last five games and climbed to the dizzy heights of ninth in the table. Universally derided upon his appointment a year ago, Megson led Bolton to safety with a similar run at the end of the season where eleven points were taken from the final five games. Until then they were in dire trouble and looked set to be relegated. This year, they were in most people’s bottom three in the pre season predictions but have been steadily gaining points. So is he any good? I’m not convinced. His main summer signings were gambles to say the least (Muamba and Elmander for a combined £15 million) but to be fair the latter has started to score regularly now. He needs more than a 17th place to be judged a success, they should be looking towards mid table. I will reserve judgment until their next four games have passed – Chelsea(H), Villa(A), Pompey(H) and Liverpool(A). If they get anything from those then perhaps I’ll start to believe Gary Megson is a decent manager.

Oh noes, it's all going to go wrong!

Oh noes, it's all going to go wrong!


3. Somehow, Fulham’s defence is very good. Only 11 goals conceded all season. Only Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd have conceded less. This despite playing without a traditional defensive midfielder – more four guys who are quite good at attacking and not bad at defending, especially Bullard and Murphy. I’ve always had a soft spot for Fulham, they play decent football and Roy Hodgson is one of the good guys. This was dented slightly after they beat Arsenal but I will be quite happy to see them stay up.


4. Van Persie’s left foot is very, very good. His right one wasn’t bad at the weekend either. His first was offside but then this goal three years ago wasn’t and yet was disallowed. It all evens itself out, eventually. The win for Arsenal was one of those where the performance wasn’t all that good but the result was fantastic. To score two goals at Stamford Bridge after being behind means maybe, just maybe they can be legitimate title challengers. However we were here a month ago after the United game saying the same thing. Let’s see if they can beat Wigan at home next week (play the kids perhaps?) before saying so for sure. 


5. If John Terry wasn’t England captain and Sagna didn’t just get on with things and Sky weren’t so biased in what they choose to replay he’d be looking a three match ban right now (here 8 mins in) … 


6. Can Liverpool sustain a title challenge without a fully fit Fernando Torres? I’m not sure they can…
Haven't seen too much of this yet...

Haven't seen too much of this yet...



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